Saturday, April 10, 1999

911 calls reveal confusion, fear

        Confusion and fear generated by the tornado that swept through Greater Cincinnati early Friday morning is evident in experts of 911 calls made to the Hamilton County Communications Center.

        Operator: 911 Emergency

        Caller: Hi, I'm sorry to bother but I didn't know who else to call I just wanted to know is there a tornado warning?

        Operator: There is a tornado warning, yes that's correct. There is a tornado spotted on the ground six miles west of Hooven which is in the southwestern portion of Hamilton County moving easterly.

        Caller: So it's moving towards like what? Blue Ash?

        Operator: It's moving easterly across Hamilton County, there's a possibility I would take shelter, that's correct.

        Caller: Thank you very much.

        Operator: OK, bye

        Dispatcher: Police Dispatcher.

        Caller: Hi, I'm sorry, I'm not sure if this is the right number to call, I live in Anderson Township, in Summit and I just heard the sirens go off, am I supposed to be in my basement?

        Dispatcher: Well it's a tornado warning just out for Hamilton County a tornado was spotted 6 miles southwest of Hooven, which is on the western part of Hamilton county.

        Caller: Ok, I've got the TV on, my husband's out of town, I'm here with two babies.

        Dispatcher: Well it's still pretty far from where you are but they have issued a tornado warning for Hamilton County.

        Caller: OK, I was thinking it was going off in Clermont County but it is the one in Hamilton county and it's because the conditions are right, correct?

        Dispatcher: Well but one is on the ground 6 miles southwest of Hooven.

        Caller: Ok, and just watch the TV I guess.

        Dispatcher: Police dispatcher.

        Caller: Hi. I feel a little foolish calling you but you are my first person to call, I woke up this morning, I'm a Loveland citizen and I heard the sirens going off and I know the weather is kind of bad, but when Loveland sets their sirens off what is that an indication of?

        Dispatcher: There's a tornado warning that has been issued for Hamilton County.

        Caller: That means one of them has touched down?

        Dispatcher: Right, one is on the ground six miles southwest of Hooven which is near Indiana. But a tornado warning has been issued for Hamilton County.

        Caller: Is it coming this way?

        Dispatcher: It is moving eastward, yes. The best thing to do is to monitor the news, television or radio.

        Caller: Well it's kind of exciting to wake up to that.

        Dispatcher: Absolutely.

        Caller: Thank you so much.

        Dispatcher: You are welcome.

        Dispatcher: 911 Emergency.

        Caller: Hello, can you hear me?

        Dispatcher: Yes!

        Caller: I'm at the intersection of Pfeiffer Rd and Kenwood Rd

        Dispatcher: OK

        Caller: A huge wind came through here these gas stations have pumps ripped out of the ground. There is a pole that is leaning to the right and the trees are catching on fire because of the wires that are touching them

        Dispatcher: Ok, at Kenwood and Pfeiffer?

        Caller: Just north on Pfeiffer Rd at Kenwood

        Dispatcher: Ok

        Caller: It is unbelievably bad right here. The Sunoco station here at the corner of Pfeiffer and Kenwood Rd, the pumps are blown out of the ground.

        Dispatcher: OK, let's see here

        Caller: I'm going to go inside this building I'm going to hang up.

        Dispatcher: That's fine, Bye!

        Caller: Bye!

        Dispatcher: 911 emergency

        Caller: A tornado just came through here.

        Dispatcher: OK, where are you at m'am

        Caller: 114, I'm on my cell phone, but I'm at 11435 Village Brooke Court. I'm here in the bathroom by myself.

        Dispatcher: OK, you did see a tornado?

        Caller: I heard it come through my house, I'm in the bathroom, I don't know what to do, I don't know if I should go out.

        Dispatcher: OK, m'am I need you to get yourself together, I know you are terrified, but I am here with you, OK.

        Caller: Do you think it will come back?

        Dispatcher: I can't predict a storm m'am. OK, you said it came through, have you looked outside the bathroom?

        Caller: No, I'm so afraid, m'am. I can't

        Dispatcher: Is there anybody else in the house with you?

        Caller: No just me and my two kids. . .

        Dispatcher: Are any of you hurt?

        Caller: No me and my two little babies are in here.

        Dispatcher: Are you hurt?

        Caller: Not I'm not.

        Dispatcher: Well ma'm, listen, right now everybody is going crazy with this storm

        Caller: I don't have any shoes on or ...

        Dispatcher: Ma'm if you are not hurt, right the police can't do anything about the storm

        Caller: I know, should I leave? What should I do?

        Dispatcher: No I wouldn't do that, ok, just stay in the bathroom that's probably the safest place for you right now, OK, I have other calls I have to get to, people who are experiencing the same thing. I'm not sending the police because there is nothing they can do right now you aren't injured and it sounds like you just had heavy winds come through there.


Hope emerges from the rubble
Sirens worked, but some slept through
Families flew from their beds
Bengals coach: 'God's hand on me'
Driver got upside-down trip on freeway median
Photographer encounters death, devastation
House is a cheap price to pay for life
Community safe, serene and vulnerable
In Addyston and Ripley County, some feel blessed just to be alive
Survivors eager to swap stories
Two died in field; two died on roads
Adjusters quick to arrive at disaster
To file a claim
Dealing with storm aftermath
Don't rush repairs after storm
Tips to picking a contractor
Kids need help to overcome grief, fears
Talking to kids
Phones, power out until Sunday
Rescue team did tough job
Storm could spur support for tax levy
Storms' memories linger after damage is repaired
Mobilization was instant
Tornado tales
TV/radio stations had reason to boast
Volunteers grab chain saws, mops as workers untangle wires
At least 7 businesses destroyed
- 911 calls reveal confusion, fear